In the wake of last week’s shooting of nine people at a South Carolina church, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have banned Confederate-themed products from being sold on their sites—including jewelry.
As with the other retailers, an Etsy post placed Confederate-themed merchandise among items that “promote, support, or glorify hatred.”
EBay’s announcement said something similar: “We believe [the Confederate flag] has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism. This decision is consistent with our long-standing policy that prohibits items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, and racial intolerance.”
While it was difficult to locate Confederate-themed items on Amazon or Etsy, at press time Confederate-themed necklaces, pendants, and dog tags were still relatively easy to find on eBay, especially if one searched for “rebel” items.
One eBay seller of a rebel-themed necklace told JCK: “The new eBay policy banning Southern-themed items seems much more to do with eliminating Southern heritage than hate. A type of cultural cleansing by large companies. I hate the ban, but I am selling 100X more than usual.”
On site forums, eBay sellers of Confederate items agreed sales of their items had spiked, even as they disagreed with the ban.
“I will simply move all my listings to my own already active independent website,” one said. “Without eBay, Amazon, etc. to compete with, I will simply sell them there and AVOID any eBay fees. I’ll actually make more money thanks to eBay’s knee-jerk.”
Others debated whether the flag stood for racism.
“Most confederate soldiers were not slavers,” one wrote, “[and] fought to defend their homes from Northern aggression. The flag was their battle symbol, not a symbol of support for slavery. The two motives were aligned during the war, but demonizing half the country (at the time) because of a minority of slave owners is [wrong].… The flag was co-opted by Dixiecrats opposing civil rights in the ’50s and ’60s, and that is the root of all the NAACP complaints. But that is not its primary use today. Today it’s used as a symbol of Southern pride.”
Wrote another: “Those who died in defense of that flag were common people, Americans. It was a civil war, an internal war.… Most that fought thought their side was right and just because one side lost the war it doesn’t make the other side 100 percent right.”
But many others thought it was a good idea.
Wrote one: “I am for burying symbols that represent human ownership of other humans, I think it is called slavery? Those who continue to deny that the Civil War was about slavery are not so knowledgeable about history. Sure, it WAS about states’ rights or really taking away states’ rights to allow white citizens to own black citizens.”
“The swastika symbol at one time was used by different cultures,” another agreed, “but once the Nazis used the symbol it became known for hate and oppression and genocide…. The same could be argued about the Confederate flag…. What it means to you is unimportant if to many it has come to mean hate, fear, oppression. It was used after the Civil War by hate groups to oppress ex-slaves and minorities.
Said another: “My people were still in Italy when Mussolini was in power. I don’t see the Fascist flag as part of my heritage or representative in any way of freedom of expression. But I guess I’m funny that way. I have no interest in aligning myself with a discredited ideology that was on the wrong side of history.”
Wal-Mart and Target have also banned Confederate-themed items, reports say.